How do you feel about training on matchdays?
For many club players the only warm up they do is smoking a cigarette and the only cool down is raising a pint to their lips.
But many others would like to make more of matchdays without dropping in performance. Here are 7 things you can do on the day of a match that will have a positive impact.
- Go for a swim. Gentle, low impact exercise first thing in the morning is a great way to wake yourself up and prepare for a hard afternoon in the field. The important part here is to work hard enough to get your systems firing, but not so hard to kill yourself. The ideal is 15-20 mins but that can vary depending on your fitness. Don't go running though.
- Work on technique. Traditionally technique work involves having a net. Ask yourself if this works for you – especially if there is no coach available. Without someone to help you develop you can't improve your technique. Instead you could work on your running technique through running drills. This will improve your speed in the middle.
- Improve timing. A net is a great way to work on timing (or rhythm for bowler). I always like to have some sort of practice before going out, even if it is just this timing drill. That way your muscle memory is already firing and you can play shots right from the start rather than having to get used to the feel again.
- Warm up and cool down. This one is a no brainer. Warm ups are proven to have a huge impact on performance if done correctly. So get yourself ready for play with at least 15 minutes of warming up. A reduced warm up if you are taking the field 2nd is also highly recommended. The cool down is also vital for recovery.
- Develop mental strength. If you are waiting to bat you can spend time developing your mental strength. Simple imagery techniques and self talk work especially well at putting you in a confident frame of mind. You can even do this work on the pitch, especially if you are grazing at fine leg.
- Take out your frustration. If you are a batsmen who has got out you will probably be a bit peeved. If you are batting second you don't have any way to vent this apart from maybe shouting at the dressing room wall. Instead, why not use that aggression to have a workout? You can use bodyweight exercises or (if really organised) have some dumb bells in your car ready for you to pump out all the excess energy.
- Do a mental review. The best players are able to go over their performances and pick out the good stuff to recall and the bad stuff to work on. Take a few minutes when you have a chance to sit down with a pen and review every detail of the game. You will find areas you are pleased with that you can use for imagery recall and areas to improve that you can work into your yearly plan.
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